In today's session the Bundesrat adopted the German law approving the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between Albania and the European Union. This brings the parliamentary approval process to a close in Germany as well.
Commenting on this, Federal Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement today (7 November) in Berlin:
"For Albania the Stabilisation and Association Agreement means a new qualitative level of cooperation with the EU. Bringing Albania and the other countries of the Western Balkans closer to the EU is part of our active policy towards improving the stability of this important neighbouring region. With a view to taking further steps towards the EU, it is now the task of all political forces in Albania to bundle their efforts in order to accelerate the reform process in their country."
The EU has offered the countries of the Western Balkans pre-accession assistance within the framework of a Stabilisation and Association Process (SAP). The SAP is a process setting clear conditions, during which each country is evaluated on the basis of its individual reform progress. The SAAs constitute a central element of the pre-accession process. They are intended to guide the far-reaching structural alignment of the Western Balkan countries with the European Union as well as support their adoption of a large part of the Community acquis. This plays a decisive role in fostering political and economic stability as well as creating new momentum for reform in the region. Satisfactory performance in the implementation of the SAA is a pre-condition for further steps towards the EU.
The SAA must be ratified by all 27 EU Member States and Albania before it can enter into force; two EU Member States still need to ratify the SAA. The SAA with Albania was signed on 12 June 2006.